The Territorial and Maritime Dispute between Japan and China in the East China Sea


In late 2010 a collision between a Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) vessel and a Chinese fishing trawler in a disputed maritime area in the East China Sea saw Sino-Japanese relations enter into a deep freeze from which they are still recovering.

The dispute itself, over not only a large maritime zone but also a chain of small, uninhabited islands (known in Japanese as the Senkaku Islands and in Chinese as the Diaoyu Islands) has a long and eventful history, featuring a dangerous cocktail of historical nationalism and energy competition.

Furthermore, it is one of the sites where the broader geopolitical shifts taking place in East Asia – specifically the rise of China – are being played out.

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